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Chaldean in Oak Park Michigan Offended by Tax Increase Reasons
By Sam Yousif :: Monday, June 2, 2008 :: 29424 Views :: Government & Society

Michigan, USA - Chaldeans in Oak Park, Michigan are perplexed over plans by Oak Park Mayor to ask its residents to approve a tax hike.  The mayor says the money is needed to keep two public safety officers on the payroll and buy patrol cars in the wake of budget cuts.

Mayor Gerald Naftaly says the city had to cut $900,000 from its 2008-09 budget because of declining revenues.  A decline that many say has been caused because of the city’s inability to keep property values from plummeting.  “I don’t understand why Mayor Naftaly has to cut police.  There are other ways to save money for the city,”  Oak Park resident,
Imad Kuza says

To balance the budget, city management suggested cutting six positions, including two officers.  “I am personally offended by the scare tactics Naftaly is using.  Just be honest and quit being a politician.  We are a small town and can take the truth.”

Naftaly has been reported as saying that fewer officers could mean compromised service.  Quoted in the local paper for the area Naftaly said, "With fewer people, you've got to expect that response time might be slower," he said. "Our citizens expect a high level of service."

Kuza is also upset over the effort to put the two proposals on the August ballot.  Voters are to be given two proposal options to override the Headlee Amendment, which limits property tax increases to the inflation rate.

“They are pulling a fast one.  They are not telling residents where the money is going to go, they are not holding town hall meetings, or anything to help residents understand why there are no other options,” Kuza added. 

The first proposal gives the city the right to charge $200 for a home valued at $200,000 per year for ten years.  The second proposal allows the city to charge $200 every year for ten years and then $400 every year for another ten years.  Chaldean residents can expect to pay an additional $2,000 under the first proposal and $6,000 under the second. 

The city’s current tax rate is $24 per $1,000 of property value. 

“A majority of Chaldeans in Oak Park are against the tax increase.  The city needs to find better ways to manage their money and threatening to cut police is not an option.  They can do better.  If they can not, we should find a new mayor and city council that can,” Kuza determinedly says. 

"Chaldeans have to get out and vote no in August or they will end up paying $6,000."

St. Joseph, MI USA

St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church
2442 E. Big Beaver Rd.
Troy, MI 48083
Tel: (248) 528-3676
Fax: (248) 524-1957

Congregation Organizer:
Rev. Michael J. Bazzi

Church Constructing Pastor:
Rev. Sarhad Y. Jammo

Current Pastor:
Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Ayad Hanna

 Current Pastor: Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Msgr. Zouhair Toma (Kejbou) was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1947.  He was ordained a priest in Baghdad, Iraq in 1968, and accepted his first assignment to serve the community of Baquba.  The Monsignor’s leadership skills and organizational talents along with his mastery of theology were immediately evident.  He later assisted Sts. Peter and Paul in Al-Salehia, and St. George in New Baghdad.

In August, 1978 Monsignor Toma was called to serve the growing community of persecuted Chaldeans finding refuge in Australia.   Being the fist Chaldean priest to arrive in Australia he quickly established a parish for the Chaldeans in Sydney to serve their social and spiritual needs.  The parish was named after St. Thomas the Apostle and built a rectory. 

In 1989, for his incredible work he was granted the title of Monsignor, Chaldean Patriarchal Vicar for Australia and New Zealand.  Continuing his passionate work to serve the Chaldean community the Monsignor moved the Parish Center to a more accessible location and built a large church campus featuring a modern community center, residence quarters, and administrative offices in 1995. 

In 2003, Monsignor Toma added a magnificent church to replace the previous one in order to serve the fast growing community and also opened two other centers.  The first was Our Lady Guardian of Plants in Melbourne, and the second was Mar Addai the Apostle in Auckland, New Zealand.  Mar Addai in New Zealand included two very large churches along with rectories and community centers.  Overseeing the Patriarchal Vicariate for 28 years, he managed to inspire six more priests to help minister to the fast growing Chaldean community. 

In August 2006, Monsignor chose to assist the St. Thomas the Apostle Diocese in the U.S. as more Catholic churches were being built in America and address the growing need.  On October 2006, Monsignor was incardinated and appointed Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Troy.